All Hail Cabernet, King of Grapes

Precious Feastlings,

This month’s Last Sunday tasting will be presented by Jessica Nenadic, who’s not only excited to bring Cabernet Sauvignon from near and far this Sunday, along with its progenitors, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc, but who also wants the wines to speak for themselves.  So notes on the wines this month, but rather, notes on the wineries.  You can talk about the wine when you get here.  The details on the tasting itself are not so different from usual: The tasting is on Sunday at 3:30; the wines will be paired with little snacks meant to flatter them; the tasting will cost $35 plus tax and tip; Jessica will be loquacious and charming; discounts will be offered on the wines; and you can only make reservations the yesteryear way, i.e. in person or on the phone (326-9363.)  We certainly hope you can join us.  The wines will be big and bold, and it’s a great event, whether you’ve got family in town and you want to do something fun together or whether you have family in town to whom you have nothing left to say.  Either way, you get tasty wine and food.  We hope you can join us.

All hail Cabernet, King of Grapes

2013 Groth Sauvignon Blanc, Napa $20.00

“The moment that everything changed, we drove from Sonoma to Napa via the Oakville grade. When we reached the top, we stopped and looked down on spectacular sea of vineyards. Curiously, the vineyard we bought is one that we saw that moment, and every time we drive over the grade we think of that day. It was a life changing investment for Judy and me,” Dennis Groth recalls. The year was 1981. The 121 acre purchase was the Oakcross Vineyard in the heart of Oakville. As a family, we are dedicated to producing the best wine that a vintage will allow. All of our resources, our property and the skills of our employees, are dedicated to this objective. We believe that if we make great wine, success will follow. Groth began as, and continues to be 100% family owned, operated, and managed by the Groth family: Dennis, Judy and their children, Elizabeth, Suzanne and D. Andrew. Our 2013 Sauvignon Blanc was produced from grapes grown in various microclimates of the Napa Valley. The warmer Napa Valley microclimates give us grapes that result in wines with a lush, full melon/citrus character in the aroma and in the flavor. The cooler Napa Valley fruit provides a solid, crisp backbone that gives the wine an exciting liveliness that balances the rich creaminess from “sur lie” aging.

2011 Cultivar Cabernet Franc, Napa $30.00

One Cultivar, one appellation. Cultivar’s appellation wines of the Napa Valley are selected for specific Cultivar characteristics of the specific appellations. From valley floor to hillsides to the mountains they are all are uniquely different because of the climate and the soil types. The different conditions of Napa’s 16 appellations produce very different wines. We pick vineyards that are good representations of the appellation it is from and then produce the wines in similar conditions (similar oak, aging and wine making). There wines are always produced in limited quantities (100 to 300 cases) to express the true characteristics of the appellation.

2012 Frog’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon, Rutherford $54.00

Believing that a grapevine should be grown in healthy soil that supports all the nutrient needs of the plant, Frog’s Leap has been farming organically since 1988. We also believe that most of the great and historic wines of the world have been made from non-irrigated grapevines, and to that end Frog’s Leap farms all of its vineyards without irrigation. We adhere to the premise that the greatest wines are those that most truly reflect their soil, climate and circumstance (collectively referred to as “terroir”), and that it is the winemaker’s role to simply stand back and let the natural beauty of the grapes show through.

We don’t make great wine, we grow it.

2010 Sbragia Cabernet Sauvignon, Dry Creek Valley $39.00

I buy these grapes from Dr. Andolsen, our long-time friend (over 20 years) and family doctor. His vineyard is on the west side of Dry Creek in the rolling hills of the coastal range in Sonoma County, and he always allows me to select grapes from my favorite blocks. It’s a great piece of land and the wine it makes offers an elegant, yet ripe, rich cherry characteristic that I always associate with this appellation. Small, family-owned winery founded by former Beringer Winemaster, Ed Sbragia. Primarily sourced from the Sbragia family estate vineyards in Dry Creek Valley.

Limited-production wines made in the big, rich, polished, Sbragia style.

2012 Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon by Concha y Toro, D.O. Puente Alto, Chile $21.00

Its classical style expresses the character, nobility and concentration of the grapes which have had a long history in Chile. Prize-winners year by year, it has been ranked five times in the prestigious ranking of the Top 100 Wines of the Year, by Wine Spectator. Semi-arid Mediterranean. Influenced by the Andes, this is the coolest part of the Maipo Valley. The larges swings in temperature from day to night prolongs grape ripening, concentrating the fruit and intensifying aromas

2011 Penfolds “Bin 407” Cabernet Sauvignon, South Australia $38.00

Penfolds has a history and heritage that profoundly reflects Australia’s journey from colonial settlement to the modern Era. Established in 1844, just eight years after the foundation of South Australia, Penfolds has played a pivotal role in the evolution of winemaking in Australia – and across the world.

Penfolds collection of benchmark wines were established in a spirit of innovation and the constant and endless pursuit of quality, evidenced from the secret bottlings of Grange in 1951 and the unbroken line of vintages of what is now Australia’s most iconic wine.

Historic blends, significant milestones and heritage vineyards have been honoured by a lineage of custodians whose courage and imagination, precision and humility have ensured Penfolds remains true to its original values while remaining relevant for current and future generations.

Textbook Cabernet Sauvignon, the varietally expressive Bin 407 highlights the rewards of Penfolds multi-region, multi-vineyard blending, with a core of ripe fruit supported by sensitive use of French and American oak.

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